Part 13 – Intelligent Systems for Traceability and Compliance

Data capture is critical when you’re looking to drive continuous improvements in manufacturing, and it is equally crucial for regulatory compliance. In this month’s Fit for the Future article, we’ll look at how intelligent systems can streamline the capture of data required for quality management and regulatory compliance in regulated industries.

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Part 12 – Improve Operational Visibility with Modern UI

Cluttered user interfaces are like rain on a car windscreen, obscuring the most crucial information. As part of the drive to improve this issue, User Experience (UX) has replaced the term User Interface (UI) to describe visualisation methods which support users in decision-making with efficient and effective visual information.

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Software review: new iFIX v5.9 SCADA release

GE Digital has now launched their fourth generation SCADA/HMI product iFIX v5.9, which promises to enable smart operators to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

The intuitive interface is designed for operators to quickly interpret relevant data and take the appropriate action. This is in contrast to older systems, which typically display vast reams of data, hampering decision making.

Key new features include:
• A completely refreshed workspace with improved picture quality
• Time lapse playback added to Global Time Control for historical data
• High performance Dynamos for Efficient HMI Office 2016 themes and updated ribbon bars
• A context-rich HMI is based on the model structure so information can be easily located
• The native Web HMI facilitates control via mobile devices
• HTML5 object library for a more efficient HMI and HTML5 content generation from the workspace
• Encrypted communication from Web client using SSL / digital certificate is IT security friendly and cloud ready

The asset model available with iFIX v5.9 really sets this version apart from previous SCADA products. Although monitoring, visualisation and alarms continue to be an important part of SCADA, the additional context provided by a detailed asset model can give operators the edge to optimise processes and drive even better results.

Astec Technical Director Chris Barlow comments,

“We use a standards-based user interface approach for every project, so clients can benefit from improved navigation and decision making. Some operators may have a tendency to feel ‘comfortable’ with older style graphics, where everything is squeezed onto a single screen, but we would recommend the drill-down structure of the latest iFIX, which offers a far superior performance. The essence of iFIX v5.9 centres around the asset modelling. This provides plant-level context for improved diagnosis of abnormal situations. Operators are able to take immediate action on the move, with a consistent level of response every time. The asset-centric screens guide users towards only relevant information – which really is the future of SCADA.”

About Astec

Astec are the sole Premier Solution Partner (PSP) in the UK for GE Digital. Both traditional implementations and support services are provided to clients ranging from SMEs to blue chip multinationals. With over 17 years’ experience in delivering automation and production software solutions, Astec’s capabilities, deep technical knowledge and expertise continue to set the company apart from peers. Each team member is a Microsoft Certified Professional with a true software engineering background, and best in class COTS software is used so customers can make the most out of their software investment.

Read more about Astec’s affiliation with GE Digital or visit the GE Digital Alliance Partner news article page. The iFIX v5.9 datasheet download can be found in Manufacturing Resources.

Astec exhibiting at PPMA 2015, stand D103

If you are considering investment in new plant and machinery, are you also looking into the benefits of using the right SCADA and process control solutions to help maximise the operational efficiency of your new investments? If so then come and join us on our stand at the PPMA show being held at the NEC between September 29th and October 1st 2015!

As well as describing how Astec’s process control solutions reach far beyond traditional HMI and SCADA, we will be showcasing a suite of products from GE Intelligent Platforms. This comprehensive product set is used globally to deliver solutions which turn manufacturing data into insights, adding real competitive advantage to our customers operations, across numerous sectors including Food & Beverage, Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Packaged Goods.

You will be able to finds us at D103, adjacent to the PPMA Group stand, where we will be happy to discuss your requirements and our experience in delivering manufacturing systems that add-value to our customers operations.

To read more about Astec’s Manufacturing Systems experience please start by clicking this link!